Mechanics, engineers earn Teamwork Award; improvements lead to radio repair success
Electronics Mechanic Brett Bellas connects an AN/ARC-231 radio to an automated test set for final testing at Tobyhanna Army Depot.

TOBYHANNA ARMY DEPOT, Pa. -- A team of electronics mechanics and engineers here has been recognized with a teamwork award for doubling repair capabilities and completing more than the scheduled radio workload.

The Flight Control Systems Branch was awarded a workload of 260 AN/ARC-231 and Receiver-Transmitter 1808A airborne radio systems in March 2013, a year and a half since the branch last worked them. Early in the program, parts supply issues pushed repairs behind schedule, requiring a strategy to meet the repair plan. Branch Chief John Stochla assembled a team to meet the challenges head-on and complete repairs on time.

"The bottom line is that we had to get it done," said Stochla. "We have the people with the technical expertise and motivation to complete a program like this and we welcomed the challenge."

The compact radio system supports airborne, multi-band, multi-mission, secure anti-jam voice, data and imagery transmission and provides network-capable communications requirements for the Department of Defense (DoD).

The team worked closely with depot engineers, and engineers and item managers from the U.S. Army Communications -- Electronics Command (CECOM), to ensure processes and procedures were thoroughly planned out.

Lori Wall, production controller in the Production Management Directorate made sure the program was scheduled properly to complete all the radios by the end of September 2013. Electronics Engineer Carmen Trubia coordinated with the program office to correct parts issues by maintaining a close relationship with everyone involved the process.

The plan called for significant increases in production for the last six months of the program, scheduling more than 40 radios to be repaired versus the original plan of 20.

Gean Bechthold, Avionics Division chief, said the steep workload increase provided timely support to the warfighter, helping to maintain fleet readiness for Air Force and Army aircraft, and significant cost savings.

Team dedication resulted in savings for DoD through improved techniques and Lean operations. Lean is a continuous process improvement program.

Adjusting the frequency modulation on the synthesizer circuit card kept repairs on schedule and saved more than $60,000 in circuit card replacement. This process was authorized by CECOM engineers during a visit to the branch.

The workload initially only included screening each radio without any repairs, but now that branch personnel were involved additional capabilities were needed: uploading, updating and modifying the software, and replacing circuit cards. The workload mission required an all-out effort to complete.

"I'm amazed at the work we accomplished," Stochla said. "At first it didn't seem possible, but the customer trusted in us to complete the radios on time despite falling behind early in the program. It was all a matter of establishing a goal without cutting corners and just continually striving to get things done."

Ten employees are scheduled to receive the Teamwork Award during a ceremony here on March 31.

Tobyhanna Army Depot is a recognized leader in providing world-class logistics support for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) Systems across the Department of Defense. Tobyhanna's Corporate Philosophy, dedicated work force and electronics expertise ensure the depot is the Joint C4ISR provider of choice for all branches of the Armed Forces and industry partners.

Tobyhanna's unparalleled capabilities include full-spectrum support for sustainment, overhaul and repair, fabrication and manufacturing, engineering design and development, systems integration, technology insertion, modification, and global field support to warfighters.

About 3,500 personnel are employed at Tobyhanna, which is located in the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania. Tobyhanna Army Depot is part of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command. Headquartered at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., the command's mission is to research, develop, acquire, field and sustain communications, command, control computer, intelligence, electronic warfare and sensors capabilities for the Armed Forces.

Page last updated Tue March 25th, 2014 at 00:00